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James Yeh’s Best of 2009

20 Best of 2009: Pieces, Wholes, Droppings, Parts and Shards

Grizzly Bear – Vecktamist

Roberto Bolaño – The Skating Rink

Girls – “Lust for Life” (0:50 – 1:24, organ sounds, hand claps)

Atlas Sound – Micromix 21 (Pescado Rabioso – “Superchería” > Juana Molina – “Martin Fierro” > The Particles – “Apricot’s Dream” > Neil Young – “Bad Fog of Loneliness” [obscure live version I’ve been since unable to find])

The New Yorker – June 26, 2009 issue (Stephen O’Connor’s short story “Ziggurat”)

Harper’s Magazine – September 2009 issue (Sam Lipsyte’s short story “The People Who Kept Everything”)

Tao Lin – Shoplifting From American Apparel (jail scene)

Beach House live at East River Park Pool Party, Brooklyn, NY – 8/30/09

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

Real Estate – Real Estate (shimmery, underwater-sounding guitar tones)

Joe Swanberg – Alexander the Last (sex scenes, awkward male competition instrument-playing prowess scene)

Ben Blum reading the story “Someone You Could Love” at the I Had It Bad Reading Series, New York, NY – 5/20/09

McSweeney’s – More Things Like This (parts from “Things Like This,” originally published in McSweeney’s #27)

Sadie Benning – Play Pause installation at The Whitney Museum, New York, NY (audio)

Beirut secret show at Coco66, Brooklyn, NY – 1/26/09 (simultaneously melancholic and triumphant horn arrangements)

Michael Kimball reading Dear Everybody at Unsaid Magazine Reading, Brooklyn, NY – 8/11/09

Sam Phillips – “What It All Means”

Kurt Vile – Constant Hitmaker

Atlas Sound – Logos

Gigantic #1

Because a true documentation of what I found to be the “best” of 2009 also includes things that were amazing but from another year, I also felt compelled to present an additional list, “Best of Not 2009”: Things I First Discovered in 2009 That Are Actually from Different Years.

“12 Best of Not 2009”

Thomas Bernhard – Woodcutters (1985)

Bad Brains – Bad Brains (1982)

Richard Yates – Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (1971)

Beach House – Devotion (2008)

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds Sessions, Disc 3 (1997)

Shugo Tokumaru – Night Piece (2005)

Tao Lin – You Are A Little Bit Happier Than I Am (2007)

Evie Sands – “I Can’t Let Go” (1965)

Adrian Tomine – Summer Blonde (2002)

Som Imaginario – Som Imaginario (1974)

David Markson – The Last Novel (2007)

The Shangri-Las – “It’s Easier to Cry” (1964)

James Yeh is a founding editor of Gigantic. His fiction appears or is forthcoming in PEN America, elimae, the film 60 Writers / 60 Places, the anthology 30 Under 30 (Starcherone Books, 2011) and elsewhere. Recently, he completed work on a novel-in-stories, entitled I Love and Understand You and Would Be Perfect to You Now. He lives in Brooklyn and can be found online at yehjames.blogspot.com.

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